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Chris Corning’s creativity leads to a World Cup slopestyle win in Switzerland

Chris Corning is back on top of the International Ski & Snowboard Federation's World Cup slopestyle season standings after a victory on Friday at the Laax Open in Switzerland.

A week after taking second place at the Kreischberg, Austria, World Cup slopestyle event, Corning tamed the creative slopestyle course in Laax to head into this week's Winter X Games in Aspen with his first slopestyle victory of the season. The World Cup slopestyle win in Laax for the 19-year-old Silverthorne resident is on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes at Kreischberg last week and at the Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort last month.

Entering X Games — a non-World Cup event — Corning now has 1,800 World Cup slopestyle points, ahead of Japanese teen sensation Takeru Otsuka (1,500) and Swedish rider Niklas Mattsson (1,220).

In the overall World cup park and pipe standings (which combine slopestyle, big air and halfpipe results), Corning's 3,890 points feature 2,090 points from World Cup big air competitions. As a result, he ranks in second place in the overall standings, just 210 points behind Otsuka (4,100). The 17-year-old Otsuka has a 2,600-2,090 point advantage over Corning in World Cup big air competitions thus far this season.

Corning was able to pull off the victory in Laax on his third and final run through the slopestyle course, one which alternated between rail and jump sections before concluding with a right-handed banked turn into one final rail hit.

Corning earned a first-place score of 89.10 on that final run on the strength of his back-to-back 1440 combo on the two larger jumps in Laax. The run began, though, with Corning calmly throwing down a frontside 180 into the first rail feature, followed up by a half-cab to a 50-50 to a frontside 360 out of that first rail feature.

Riding his regular goofy foot style (right foot forward) into the next feature, Corning tightened his right foot binding before executing his trademark back-side rodeo to set up riding switch into the course's third feature and first jump. On that first, smaller jump, Corning achieved great amplitude on his flat-spin, cab 1260 with a nose grab, a move that required three-and-a-half horizontal 360-degree rotations.

Riding regular heading into the next jump feature, Corning was able to get around the four full horizontal rotations that comprise his flat-spin frontside 1440 with a melon grab. Corning then attacked the course's third and final jump with a backside triple-cork 1440 with a melon grab, a move that requires him to invert three times on his vertical axis while also rotating horizontally four times. Corning landed fast and deep on that triple-cork attempt, slowing down his speed heading into the banked feature before the final rail.

Corning rotated to enter the banked turn riding switch before he concluded his run riding goofy and with careful execution on the final rail. It came via a backside 270 onto the rail before landing a board-slide on the bottom portion of the rail and a 270 off of the rail, pumping his fist in celebration when he hit the snow.

"It was an amazing day," Corning said to reporters in Switzerland, "I put down my first run in finals, but it wasn't exactly a clean run. But then I was able to pull it all back together and put it down like I wanted in my second run. That last rail has been giving me trouble all week in my competition runs and on that last one I was just like, 'I don't care, I'm stomping this.' And I did, so to be able to stand on top of that podium with so many good riders here is awesome."

Corning was joined on the Laax podium by the man who bested him for first place at Dew Tour, Norway's Stale Sandbech (87.35). The third place podium position was awarded to home country rider Moritz Thoenen of Switzerland, who's score of 80.55 gave him his first World Cup podium. Other top American competitors included Hawaiian Lyon Farrell (seventh) and Nik Baden of Steamboat Springs (10th). Neither of Summit County's two Olympic medal-winning snowboarders from Pyeongchang 2018, Red Gerard or Kyle Mack, competed in Laax.

In the women's slopestyle competition, Norwegian Silje Norendal won her first World Cup event with a score of 78.35 followed by Swiss riders Celia Petrig (67.60) and Sina Candrian (65.40) and American Julia Marino (54.10).

Gold podiums in halfpipe

In Saturday's men's halfpipe competition, Australian Scotty James continued his torrid run through the 2018-19 halfpipe season, winning the Laax Open with a score of 95.75. It followed up James' victories at last month's season-opening World Cup event at Copper Mountain Resort and at the Dew Tour modified superpipe the ensuing week.

In Laax, James was joined on the podium by Japanese rider Yuto Totsuka (92.00) and Eagle-Vail's Jake Pates (85.50). James picked up the win via a run through the pipe that consisted of the following tricks: a switch backside 1080 indy, a backside 1080 mute, a frontside 1080 tail grab, a cab double-cork 1080 mute, and a frontside double-cork 1260 stalefish.

"The Laax Open was an event I've wanted to win for a while," James told reporters in Switzerland, "and to do it under the lights in front of all these fans makes it extra special. I've been working on that run for a while and it's nice to put it all together. The switch backside riding, I really enjoy it and it's a big element of my run. I'm trying to keep it technical but also keep the amplitude up and hopefully look like I'm enjoying myself while I'm at it."

Pates' first World Cup podium of his career saw him attempt four double-corked rotations out of his five total hits in his run. Pates' full run through the pipe consisted of a double McTwist mute, a frontside double-cork 1080 mute, a cab double-cork 1080 indy, a frontside 900 tail and a double Michalchuk indy.

In the women's competition, heavy favorite Chloe Kim of California won once again, with a score of 93.75, well ahead of Spanish veteran Queralt Castellet (80.50) and resident-Breckenridge rider Arielle Gold (77.25). Gold's run on Saturday featured a new trick for her typical halfpipe run, when she landed a clean 1080 where she would typically do a 900. Gold's full run through the pipe consisted of a frontside 1080 tail, a cab 720 mute, a frontside 720 indy, a cab 720 mute, a crippler indy and a Michalchuk melon.


Olympic medalist snowboarder Max Parrot from Canada has lymphoma

MONTREAL — Olympic medalist snowboarder Max Parrot of Canada has been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma. Canada Snowboard said Thursday the cancer was diagnosed Dec. 21 after a biopsy 10 days earlier. The 24-year-old from Quebec will miss the rest of the 2018-19 season.

Parrot said he underwent his first of 12 chemotherapy sessions last week. The cancer attacks part of the immune system and is most often seen in people of 20 to 40 years old.

Former Pittsburgh Penguins star Mario Lemieux was diagnosed with the disease in 1993 and returned to play that season.

Parrot won a slopestyle silver medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games and is a five-time X Games champion. He won gold in big air at X Games Aspen in 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. He also won slopestyle gold in Aspen back in 2014.

He’s also won X Games silver on four occasions, two of those silvers coming in Norway.

Snowboarder Chris Corning podiums at Austrian World Cup slopestyle event

SUMMIT COUNTY — Chris Corning podiumed this past weekend at a World Cup slopestyle event in Austria, his first event since finishing an impressive second at last month's Dew Tour at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

The 19-year-old Silverthorne snowboarder and former Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete earned another second-place finish on the slopestyle course in Kreischberg, Austria, with a score of 84.75, behind winner Mons Roisland of Norway (88.75).

The second-place finish slightly closed the gap between Corning and Japanese teen rider Takeru Otsuka in the season-long International Ski & Snowboard Federation World Cup standings. Corning's second-place finish at Kreischberg earned him 800 World Cup points to improve his point total on the season to 2,890, behind only the 17-year-old Otsuka (4,100) in the overall park and pipe race.

Corning has gotten the better of Otsuka, though, at the most recent two competitions where they both competed. That included his second-place finish at the Dew Tour slopestyle competition and his second-place finish on Saturday in Kreischberg, where he earned that 84.75 on his third and final run through the relatively atypical slopestyle course while Otsuka finished in fourth place.

The Kreischberg course consisted of features that alternated between rails and jumps throughout the entire course. Comparatively, at last month's Dew Tour, the rails and jumps were separated into two distinct sections that were scored completely separately and at different times. Also, at last February's Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the slopestyle course consisted of several rail features at first before transitioning to the jumps to conclude the all-in-one run through the course.

Corning began his podium-placing run through the Kreischberg course on an up, flat-down rail feature. On the feature, he executed a backside 270-onto the feature, and then a 270-off of the feature, which he gapped all the way to the down portion of the feature. A 270-on means the snowboarder rotates 270 horizontal degrees while jumping onto the rail while a 270-off means the snowboarder rotates 270 degrees after jumping off of the rail. The "gap" means Corning soared in the air over the up portion of the rail before landing on the down.

Corning said the quick transition from the first rail feature to the second was difficult due to its steepness, which required him to slow his speed before that second rail feature: an up rail into a flat rail. On that feature, Corning rode in switch (with his opposite lead foot), before board-sliding up the rail before executing a 450-degree rotation over the flat portion of the rail into the landing.

Corning then rode his customary goofy-foot style into the first of the course's three jumps, where he executed a frontside, flat-spin 144. The move required Corning to rotate toward his board's front side for four full 360-degree rotations. And it came on this jump course, which Corning said consisted of jumps 60 to 70-percent as tall as the jumps at last month's Dew Tour at Breckenridge.

"I was able to do the tricks I wanted to do on the jumps," Corning said of the course's design. "It just made it so I had to go further on the landings than I normally would like to and just spin a lot faster than usual, which is fine. It makes it harder to land consistently."

Corning rode off that first jump goofy before mustering to turn around a back-side, triple-cork 1440 despite the short height of the jump. To land the move, Corning kept his rotation and torque tight and powerful on his vertical axis despite taking a relatively flat jump line. With the low line through the air, Corning landing deep on the jump's bottom portion.

That deep landing on that second jump was followed by the third and final rail feature, which Corning described as a canon rail into a butter box. On this feature, Corning's main focus when strategizing his overall run was to depart the butter box feature riding with his left foot forward. That was in order to execute a switch trick on the course's final jump.

With that in mind, Corning executed a board-slide up the canon rail into a 270-off of the canon rail into the down portion of the butter box. Then on the flat portion of the butter box, Corning launched off the box and landed his customary rodeo flip. Then, on the final jump, Corning pumped his fist in celebration after landing a flat-spin cab 1260.

Following the Austrian World Cup event, Corning will next compete in this weekend's World Cup slopestyle event in Laax, Switzerland, with the finals scheduled for Friday. Corning predicted this weekend's competition to be at a higher level than Kreischberg.

"This contest is always really heavy," Corning said from Laax. "They always have really good jumps out here."

Corning was the top American finisher in Kreischberg, ahead of Californian Judd Henkes (sixth), Alaskan Ryan Stassel (eighth) and Will Healy of Connecticut (22nd), among a few others. Steamboat Springs rider Nik Baden is scheduled to compete in Laax this weekend while, at the moment, neither Red Gerard or Kyle Mack of Summit County are in Laax preparing to compete.

Corning also is expected to compete in both big air and slopestyle at X Games Aspen, which runs from Jan. 24 to 27 at Buttermilk Ski Area.


Aspen skier Alex Ferreira enjoying his post-Olympic, no pressure lifestyle

When Alex Ferreira won Olympic silver in February, he gained a peace of mind he maybe didn't expect. The pressure of living up to his sponsors, his fans, his friends — it all faded away.

"I've kind of proven myself, so I have a little leeway now," Ferreira recently said. "I'm just so much more relaxed. I don't have this deep pit of anxiety wondering what is going to happen."

The 24-year-old halfpipe skier from Aspen is coming off his best season as a professional. The success opened doors to Oscar parties, bigger sponsorships and a general celebrity lifestyle. While he has embraced some of that, Ferreira remains the same friendly kid who grew up with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. If anything, his success has allowed him to return to his true self without the worry of winning competitions to drag him down.

"He skis with a little bit of joy, and I think people can sense that," said Elana Chase, who has helped coach Ferreira since he was 9 and was by his side in South Korea at the 2018 Olympics. "If you are then able to pick your head up and enjoy the sport a little more often, instead of always having your head down for the grind, is a really good place to be."

Last season was stressful for all athletes. It was an Olympic season, and the pressure to make the national team was inescapable. In 2014, Ferreira was the first person left off the four-man team for the Sochi Games, something he had to chew on for four years.

It all came together for him last winter. It started with Dew Tour, where he got his first major win. That was followed by a runner-up finish at the Snowmass Grand Prix, an Olympic qualifier, and his first silver medal at X Games Aspen. He easily made the 2018 U.S. Olympic team, where he finished second to close friend David Wise of Nevada.

"It's been a lot, but as soon as July rolled around, that's when I felt things start to calm down," Ferreira said of the whirlwind that followed the Olympics. "Now that I've reached this level, I want to enjoy it, as most people don't get that opportunity."

He spent much of his summer here in Aspen, working out, mountain biking and taking part in his favorite pastime — hanging out on the trampoline in front of the AVSC clubhouse. When the 2018-19 season came around, the stress of past years didn't return with it.

He opened his season earlier this month at the Copper Mountain Grand Prix, finishing eighth in the 10-man final. He rallied Sunday back at Dew Tour in Breckenridge, where he won the men's ski superpipe competition for the second consecutive season, holding off Wise and runner-up finisher Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte.

"To be honest, I thought everybody else had really good runs from what I saw in training, and I thought they were going to blow me out of the water," Ferreira said of Dew Tour. "Sure enough, I just landed my first run and that score stuck. And that never happens to me, either, so I'm truly blown away. I'm really grateful to be healthy and happy and the win is like a cherry on top."

It wasn't all fun and games for Ferreira at Dew Tour, as before he dropped in for his first run in the modified halfpipe — which proved to be the winning run of the competition — he watched close friend and competitor Torin Yater-Wallace crash on his first run. The Basalt resident and two-time Olympian is likely out for the season because of that crash.

"To have it all rattled in one second and see your bestie go down so hard is pretty gut-wrenching to witness," said Chase, a former AVSC coach who now works for Ski and Snowboard Club Vail and remains close with Yater-Wallace. "It's truly extraordinary that he put down a run, to be honest. It's hard when it's your friend, when it's your buddy you grew up with. So it's a little harder for Alex."

While Yater-Wallace, who had surgery Wednesday, will spend the next few months recovering, Ferreira will be able to move on with his season in whatever way he sees fit. He'll certainly compete in January's X Games Aspen — it'll likely forever remain his favorite competition — and is in a good position to make the U.S. roster for the world championships, hosted by Park City, Utah, in February.

Other than that, Ferreira plans to take things easy. He wants to spend more time chasing powder here in Aspen and working on making ski films. He might even take a heli trip at some point. The pressure of X Games and maybe even world championships could eventually make a return appearance, but none of that is on his mind right now.

"If I love it enough, then I'll do it forever. If I fall out of love, I will re-evaluate," Ferreira said of competing. "As far as skiing goes, success is elusive. There are so many accomplishments I want to achieve, but it just depends on what is feeling right and what is not right."


Season likely over for Basalt’s Torin Yater-Wallace after Dew Tour injury

The ski season is likely over for Basalt's Torin Yater-Wallace after a crash Sunday in the modified superpipe competition at Dew Tour in Breckenridge.

Near the end of his first run, the two-time Olympian landed near the flat bottom of the halfpipe and collapsed to the ground. He was down for about 15 minutes before a sled took him away.

According to his Instagram account, Yater-Wallace suffered "double broken heels" and has undergone at least two surgeries since the injury. According to an official statement released to The Aspen Times through U.S. Ski and Snowboard, Yater-Wallace had no other injuries that needed medical attention other than his heels.

The Steadman Clinic in Vail is where he was having the surgeries done.

"He will make a full recovery and be back on skis as soon as possible, but it is too early to create that timeline," the statement read. "Best way to send well wishes is through Torin's social media channels as he continues to post and communicate with his fans through those channels."

The 23-year-old Yater-Wallace, who competed in both the 2014 and 2018 Winter Olympics and has long been a staple at X Games Aspen, was making his season debut at Dew Tour after skipping the Copper Mountain Grand Prix. He's twice won silver at X Games Aspen and most recently won a bronze in 2018.

He was slated to compete at X Games next month but has officially been removed from the invited athlete list after his crash.

Aspen's Alex Ferreira went on to win Sunday's ski halfpipe competition at Dew Tour, taking his first run not long after Yater-Wallace was taken away in a sled. The two are close friends.

"It's so unfortunate, but I keep telling this to everybody, if anybody can make it back, it's him," Ferreira said Wednesday en route to visiting Yater-Wallace in the Vail hospital. "He's got the power. I have no doubt whatsoever."


ESPN, Skico negotiating new Winter X Games contract

The Aspen Skiing Co. is in discussions with ESPN about extending its contract for Winter X Games, with an announcement possible by next month, sources said Tuesday.

"I'm optimistic," Skico CEO Mike Kaplan said. "We would love to continue with it."

Kaplan said an announcement about a new contract could be made by next month's 18th Winter X Games at Buttermilk, scheduled for Jan. 24 to 27.

Vanessa Anthes, ESPN associate director for global X events, confirmed Tuesday that discussions with Skico about a new contract are ongoing.

"I can say that ESPN loves Aspen," she said. "We hope to have an announcement in the near future."

Winter X Games was first held in 1997 at Big Bear Lake in California, then moved to Crested Butte for the 1998 and 1999 games, then to Mount Stowe, Vermont, for the following two years. It was held for the first time at Buttermilk in 2002 and has been at the Aspen-area venue ever since.

The last contract for five years was awarded to Aspen in 2014 after ESPN solicited bids from other ski towns, including Whistler in British Columbia, Canada. This time around, and while ESPN continually talks with various resorts, the company did not formally solicit bids this year, said Grace Coryell, ESPN communications manager.

"It definitely shows we have been in Aspen for 18 years and we definitely love the town and the setup of the mountain," Coryell said.

Winter X Games will be free to the public as usual this year, except in the concert areas. The beer garden at Home Team BBQ again will be set up, as will a similar area at Bumps restaurant, she said.

Concerts at Buttermilk this year will feature Lil Wayne at 10 p.m. Friday, Louis the Child at 5 p.m. Saturday, The Chainsmokers at 9:30 p.m. Saturday and Kygo at 3 p.m. Sunday. Lights from the night concerts will be extinguished by about 11:30 p.m., Anthes said.

Pitkin County Commissioner Greg Poschman questioned the county's contribution of overtime for sheriff's deputies when ESPN and its corporate parent, Disney, are worth billions of dollars. In the beginning when the event was young, it made sense for the community to contribute, but the games have now become a major event, he said.

"I'd like to request ESPN pay their own way when it comes to (Sheriff's Office overtime)," Poschman said.

His colleagues on the county board, however, were not receptive to his suggestion.

"It's a great event," Commissioner George Newman said. "It brings in people from all over the country."

The long-term marketing for Aspen is easily worth the community contributions, he said. Newman also noted that the Sheriff's Office must frequently provide security for dignitaries without compensation.

Commissioner Rachel Richards recalled supporting Winter X Games coming to Aspen when she served as mayor in the early aughts, and said losing the event would lead to complaints like those she heard this year about not having World Cup events in Aspen.

Richards also said that in travels to other ski towns, she's heard people say Aspen used to be known as "your grandfather's ski area" while it's now thought of as "a kid's ski area" because of Winter X Games. In other words, the benefits to Aspen far outweigh the community contributions, she said.

"This has become a hugely successful event," Richards said. "I'm OK with the contribution. I'm very supportive of this moving forward."

Board Chairwoman Patti Clapper agreed, noting that she received no complaints about Winter X Games last year.

"I'm ready for it to roll again," she said.


The Aspen Times Most Anticipated Arts Events, Winter 2018-19

A winter day in Aspen is no sprint. And a full season is a veritable ultra-marathon of not only skiing and après-skiing, but more arts and cultural happenings than any remote mountain town can take for granted.

The big one this winter is the kickoff of the yearlong Bauhaus centennial celebration, with Herbert Bayer-centric exhibitions at the Aspen Historical Society, the Aspen Institute and diverse events hosted by just about every arts-related entity in the Roaring Fork Valley.

On the music front, we've got rap legend Lil Wayne at X Games and DJ duo Justice at Belly Up for New Year's, along with local favorites like the Wood Brothers, Leftover Salmon and Chris Robinson back in town (and a dose of John Denver, of course). From the page, Winter Words has the great American novelist Colson Whitehead coming in February and on the stage we've got the return of the Crystal Palace players at the Wheeler and a youthful "Newsies" at Theatre Aspen. Laugh Fest has another next-level stand-up lineup booked, along with high-profile comics at the Wheeler like Jim Gaffigan and Marc Maron.

So open up your calendar and start planning your season. This is the 2018-19 most anticipated list:


Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead @ Aspen Winter Words, Paepcke Auditorium

Tuesday, Feb. 12

News that Whitehead was working on a new novel about the Jim Crow era set off a media frenzy in October, evidencing his towering place in American letters and the vitality of his voice right now in the culture. Whitehead's 2016 novel "The Underground Railroad" won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and solidified Whitehead as a generational talent in literature, following his contemporary classics like "John Henry Days" and "Zone One."

AND DON'T FORGET: Tommy Caldwell at Winter Words (Jan. 8) … Curtis Sittenfeld & Emily Jeanne Miller at Winter Words (Jan. 29) … Bruce Berger's "A Desert Harvest" (to be published in March) … Jane Mayer at Winter Words (March 12).



Jennifer Koh

Jennifer Koh @ Aspen Music Festival and School, Harris Concert Hall

Thursday, Feb. 7

The world-renowned violinist has conceived a four-part "Bridge to Beethoven" concert series that pulls Beethoven's works in to the 21st century by pairing them with contemporary compositions inspired by him. In this "Bridge to Beethoven" rendition, Koh pairs Beethoven's Opus 30 violin sonatas with newly commissioned pieces composed by Andrew Norman.

AND DON'T FORGET: The Ten Tenors at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 6) … Aspen Choral Society performs Handel's "Messiah" at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 15) … Pianist Yefim Bronfman at Harris Concert Hall (Jan. 29) … Pianist Marc-André Hamelin at Harris Concert Hall (Feb. 28).



Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan @ Wheeler Opera House

Friday, Feb. 15

The Wheeler continues to up its game for the Aspen Laugh Fest, booking can't-miss headliners and supporting acts better than most comedy festivals on Earth over the last two years. But nobody is bigger than Jim Gaffigan, who headlines the historic theater the weekend before Laugh Fest 2019 kicks off. One of the funniest and most popular stand-up comics in the world, Gaffigan plays arenas and large venues (he even opened for the Pope in a Philadelphia stadium). If you can get tickets, don't miss the chance to see him in the Wheeler.

AND DON'T FORGET: Mike Stanley at The Temporary (Dec. 8) … 'Adventure Not War' at The Temporary (Dec. 13) … Melissa Villasenor at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 23) … Sal Vulcano at Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 5) … The Capitol Steps at Wheeler Opera House (Feb. 8) … Nate Bargatze at Aspen Laugh Festival (Feb. 20) … Kathleen Madigan at Aspen Laugh Festival (Feb. 21) … TIg Notaro at Aspen Laugh Festival (Feb. 22) … Jo Koy at Aspen Laugh Festival (Feb. 23) … Marc Maron at Wheeler Opera House (March 23).



Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo @ Aspen District Theatre

Saturday, Jan. 19

"The Trocks" are back, bringing their hilarious all-male ballet send-up to the District. This popular touring troupe of men in tutus mocks the tropes and traditions of ballet, with equal doses of genius physical comedy and downright astounding dance technique. In a quieter than usual dance season without a splashy premiere from Aspen Santa Fe Ballet on the books, this much-anticipated return to town from the Trocks promises to be the dance event of the winter.

AND DON'T FORGET: "The Nutcracker," presented by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at Aspen District Theatre (Dec. 8-9) … Acrobats of Cirque-tacular at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 29) … "Tuplet," "1st Flash" and "Eudaemonia" performed by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet at Aspen District Theatre (Feb. 16) … Catapult at Wheeler Opera House (March 3).



“Vox Lux”

"Vox Lux" @ Aspen Film Academy Screenings

Dec. 26-30

Natalie Portman leads and sings as a pop star haunted by a violent tragedy from her teen years in this hotly anticipated new film by director Brady Corbet. It's among the titles coming to Academy Screenings, the beloved annual festival of awards season movies hosted by Aspen Film between Christmas and the New Year.

AND DON'T FORGET: Kid Flicks at The Temporary (Dec. 1 & March 2) … "This Mountain Life" at the Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 16) … "Roma" at Aspen Film Academy Screenings (Dec. 26-30) … "Aspen Extreme" at the Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 10) … Aspen Historical Society Retro Film Series at various locations (Jan. 11, Feb. 8, March 8, April 12) … International Ocean Film Tour at Wheeler Opera House (March 22) … "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" in theaters (March 22) … Aspen Shortsfest at Wheeler Opera House (April 2-7).



Lil Wayne

Lil Wayne @ X Games Aspen, Buttermilk Ski Area

Friday, Jan. 25

@ Belly Up Aspen

Saturday, Jan. 26

Yes, it's Weezy F Baby. And the F is for phenomenal. The New Orleans hip-hop legend, hot off the release of his long-awaited "Tha Carter V," is coming to the mountains for two of the biggest concerts of the year in Aspen. He'll headline Friday night in the outdoor arena at X Games in front of some 6,000 very cold people and Saturday for about 450 very lucky fans at Belly Up downtown.

AND DON'T FORGET: Lucas Wolf at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 1) … Dirtwire at Belly Up (Dec. 4) … The Wood Brothers at Belly Up (Dec. 9) … Bone Thugs-N-Harmony at Belly Up (Dec 13) … Shakey Graves at Belly Up (Dec. 14) … Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at Belly Up (Dec. 15-16) … Tim Montana at The Temporary (Dec. 16) … John Denver Christmas Concert at the Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 20) … Dillon Francis at Belly Up (Dec. 21) … Sweet Lu Olutosin's Red Hot Holiday at JAS Café (Dec. 21-22) … Third Eye Blind at Belly Up (Dec. 27) … El Javi Trio at The Temporary (Dec. 28) … Robert Randolph and the Family Band at the Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 28) … Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles at JAS Café (Dec. 28-29) … Diplo at Belly Up (Dec. 29) … Justice at Belly Up (Dec. 30-31) … Vaud and the Villains, Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 31) … Dirty Revival at The Temporary (Dec. 31) … Emancipator at Belly Up (Jan. 1) … En Vogue at Belly Up (Jan. 4) … Steve Aoki at Belly Up (Jan. 5) … Sammy Miller & the Congregation at JAS Café (Jan. 11-12) … Jerry Douglas at Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 13) … Classic Albums Live: "Dark Side of the Moon" at Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 17) … Mavis Staples at Belly Up (Jan. 18) … MarchFourth at The Temporary (Jan. 19) … Kygo at Belly Up (Jan. 24) & at X Games (Jan. 27) … The Chainsmokers at Belly Up (Jan. 25) & at X Games (Jan. 26) … Louis the Child at X Games (Jan. 26) & at Belly Up (Jan. 27) … Chris Robinson Brotherhood at Belly Up (Feb. 9) … Leftover Salmon at Wheeler Opera House (Feb. 14) … Atmosphere at Belly Up (Feb. 15) … The Lique at The Temporary (Feb. 15) … Robin McKelle at JAS Café (Feb. 15-17) … Pat Green at Belly Up (Feb. 20) … The Infamous Stringdusters at Belly Up (Feb. 22) …Shelly Berg Trio with Veronica Swift and Billy Valentine at JAS Café (Feb. 22-23) … Lettuce at Belly Up (Feb. 24-25) … Ola Onabule at JAS Café (March 1-2) … Dave Mason at Belly Up (March 7) … Andrew McMahon in The Wilderness at Belly Up (March 10) … The SteelDrivers at Wheeler Opera House (March 16) … Wynonna Judd at Wheeler Opera House (March 26) … Buddy Guy at Belly Up (April 1).




'Newsies: The Musical' @ Aspen District Theatre

Jan. 10-13

A talented young cast from Theatre Aspen's Winter Conservatory brings this timely Disney musical of newsboys and labor battles to the stage for a limited five-performance run. This dance-heavy thriller of a show – a smash on Broadway in 2012 – and its age-appropriate cast make this student production a promising gem coming to the stage in the new year.

AND DON’T FORGET: "Kimberly Akiimbo" at Thunder River Theatre Company (Nov. 30-Dec. 15) … "DaVinci & Michelangelo: The Titans Experience" at The Temporary (Dec. 7) … "A Christmas Carol" at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 21) … Mike Super at Wheeler Opera House (Dec. 22) … Vaudeville Revue at Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 6) … Popovich Comedy Pet Theatre at Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 11) … "Friends: The Musical Parody" at Wheeler Opera House (Jan. 15) … Crystal Palace Revue at Wheeler Opera House (Feb. 1) … "Macbeth" at The Temporary (Feb. 19) … "Of Mice and Men" at Thunder River Theatre Company (Feb. 22-March 9) … "Improvised Shakespeare" at Wheeler Opera House (March 2) … "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." at Wheeler Opera House (April 11-13).



Bauhaus 100 Aspen

'bayer & Bauhaus: how design shaped aspen' @ Aspen Historical Society

Dec. 4 through summer 2019

You may not know bunk about the Bauhaus yet, but by the time Aspen's yearlong centennial celebration of the influential German art school and movement is over, you can be an expert. Every arts organization in the valley is taking part, with exhibitions, participatory art classes (and snow-sculpting), lectures, walking tours and parties. This Aspen Historical Society's exhibition of work by the Bauhaus master and Aspen icon Herbert Bayer is the centerpiece of it all. Bayer moved here in 1946 and shaped the identity of modern Aspen as its original architect. This show tells us how he did it, with a collection of painting, printmaking, photos, posters and more.

AND DON'T FORGET: Herbert Bayer, "Mountains and Convolutions," Resnick Gallery (through June 10) … Herbert Bayer Photographs, 1928-1934, Paepcke Gallery (through June 10) … "Big Picture, Baby" at Skye Gallery (through Jan. 4) … "Small Wonders" at Aspen Chapel Gallery (through Jan. 6) … "Anderson Ranch Impressions" at Anderson Ranch (through Jan. 28) … Takashi Nakazato lecture at Anderson Ranch (Dec. 4) … Anderson Ranch Holiday Open House (Dec. 18) … Mindy Vernon, 'Precious Legacy' at Aspen Jewish Community Center (opening Dec. 18) … Women of Bauhaus at Maker + Place (Dec. 20) … "Zombies: Pay Attention!" at Aspen Art Museum (Dec. 21-May 5) … Tony Oursler and Marc Swanson at the Baldwin Gallery (Dec. 26-Feb. 10) … James Jensen at Aspen Grove Fine Art (Dec. 27-28) … Spencer Hansen at Skye Gallery (Jan. 4-Feb. 14) … Bauhaus Material Display, Pitkin County Library (Jan. 8-June 29) … Toklat Gallery 70th Anniversary Celebration (Jan. 11) … Margaret Kilgallen at Aspen Art Museum (Jan. 11-June 16) … Trace Nichols at The Art Base (Jan. 11-Feb. 1) … Andy Buck and Carl Adamshick: "Receipt" at Anderson Ranch (Jan. 30-Feb. 27) … Bauhaus and Booze: Paint By Number at Wheeler Opera House (Feb. 5) … Amanda Ramsay at The Art Base (Feb. 8-March 1) … Imagine Climate: Artists on Climate Change at Anderson Ranch (March 1-31) … Gabriel Rico at Aspen Art Museum (March 15-June 16) … Robert Mapplethorpe at the Baldwin Gallery (March 15-April 15) … Molly Peacock at The Art Base (April 12-May 3).

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Inside X Games

Driving by the beaming X Games superpipe at night, I'm drawn to it like a moth to a flame — and I'm almost as distracted as if I were texting while driving. The energy of the X Games is undeniable. Athletes have pushed action sports to new levels every year, and being among the hype and success is almost indescribable.

X Games was always something I enjoyed from the comforts of home while living in Minnesota and watching it on television. Even sitting at home, I could feel the energy and excitement from the Aspen event. From home it appeared to be one of the most alluring events I could ever have dreamed up.

About five years ago I was given the opportunity to photograph X Games for Snowboard CO Magazine, an offer I couldn't deny! I arrived on the scene of X Games and was completely overwhelmed. TV didn't give this event justice; it was bigger than I could've imagined.

My friends and relatives think that my covering X Games as a photographer is the most glamorous job I could ever have.

I love X Games and always will, but it truly is the most exhausting week of the year for me. There are so many factors people don't see. First off, sled privileges — my gosh, is that a privilege. As soon as I discovered what sled privileges entailed, I had never coveted a sticker of a snowmobile so much.

Without that little snowmobile sticker on your credential, you are hiking up and down the mountain to obtain your shots. Top access to the start gates could be easily accessible via snowboarding down from the lifts, but for some reason you need a special little doodad on your credential for that access, as well. The X Games, I didn't realize, is prioritized for television by ESPN. I soon found out that I was a second-class citizen compared to anyone working for ESPN, meaning you get booted from any possible nice photo-taking spot during competitions.

The so-called media corrals are over-stuffed with media, creating a cutthroat situation to "get the shot," and they're also placed behind several other corrals, creating a "please let the sea of heads in front of me part so I can get the shot" situation. I confronted the media representative about these issues and they said, "Well, just get your shots during practice" (when media is allowed more access). I rebutted, "Well, we would like to run photos from the actual competition," and they said that's just too bad. It turns into a game of cat and mouse outsmarting the security to try and get a decent photo during competitions.

Another unglamorous aspect of the event is being exposed to all of the elements in nature. Don't get me wrong: Being outside for work is great, but when an ESPN college basketball game delays a superpipe competition in negative temperatures for almost an hour, and you're holding down your spot among several other elbows on the side of the pipe, the fun factor significantly diminishes. The extreme puffy eyes from tiredness, sun exposure and winds really knock your self-esteem down as a female when walking by the Monster girls glamored to the max.

That being said, X Games is one of my favorite events to shoot. Each year it is essentially the same event, so it pushes you to get creative each year to keep it interesting as an artist. I'll never forget photographing Shaun White above me for the first time; to this day it still seems surreal having these incredible athletes soar above me while I try not to forget to take photos. I will make a promise to up-and-coming fellow photographers, though: I will always share my advice with you regarding X Games and won't push you out of my way, even if it's a tight squeeze. We've all got a job to do.


Mountain Mayhem: X Games Excitement

For the 17th edition of Winter X Games in Aspen, held from Jan. 25 to 28, the center of the action was concentrated at Buttermilk with the world's best action sports, music and festival experience. However, there was plenty of action on the social front in town with concerts, pop-up shops, parties and more. Among the festivities of note, PAX Labs hosted a VIP après-ski event for media and influencers on Friday, Jan. 26. Staged at Kemo Sabe's new private bar upstairs, guests enjoyed drinks and appetizers in the Western setting, and had an opportunity to meet people in the cannibus industry — both locally and from the Front Range. Guests departed with PAX product samples and a bit more information about what's coming down the pipeline — no pun intended — in the cannabis marketplace in regards to technology and general developments.

Also over the weekend, birthday girl Lyndell Hendricks was surprised by friends and family with a party in her honor with wine, apps and petit cupcakes to celebrate!

To reach May with invites and insights, email allthewaymaymay.com.

Japan’s Ayumu Hirano wins X Games superpipe gold; iPod injured in crash

Japan's Ayumu Hirano outdueled Australian Scotty James and American Ben Ferguson to win Sunday's men's snowboard superpipe contest at X Games Aspen.

This, however, was secondary to a second-run crash that sent Swiss superstar Iouri Podladtchikov, better known as "iPod," to the hospital. Podladtchikov, the reigning Olympic gold medalist, hit the bottom of the pipe hard on his run and lost consciousness.

X Games officials said after the contest that Podladtchikov was alert and conversing and would be kept for observation. His CT scans were negative for brain and neck injury. He did suffer a nasal fracture.

"I hope Iouri is OK and I'm sending my best wishes to him," James said. "He's a fantastic rider and I always say never doubt a true champion. I'm sure he'll be back before Korea. I didn't actually see the crash, so I can't talk too much about it. Just really hope he's OK."

After a delay that lasted nearly 30 minutes, the contest resumed with one of the most intense and impressive finishes in X Games superpipe history. This is the third X Games medal for Hirano, and his first X Games Aspen gold. He also won superpipe gold at X Games Oslo in 2016 and was the silver medalist at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"I was only going for first place being here and this routine is actually one I wanted to win with so I'm glad it all paid off," Hirano said through a translator.

The contest started off as hot as it finished. Idaho's Chase Josey, who will be on the U.S. Olympic team next month in South Korea, scored a 90 on the first run of the night. He only finished the first of the three rounds in third place, as Hirano and James didn't wait around to deliver.

Hirano, who was second to last in the lineup, scored 93 on his first run, only to have James top him with a 96. James was the last to go as he entered as the reigning X Games Aspen gold medalist. Last year's silver medalist, Matt Ladley, and bronze medalist, Taylor Gold, didn't compete because of injury.

"I was expecting a good battle tonight, and that's what I got. It was really good," James said. "I was going out here and I wanted to win and that's what I'll be doing in Korea. That's my mentality in competitions."

Eagle's Jake Pates, who once rode with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club when he was younger, was the first person in the pipe after Podladtchikov in the second run, scoring just 16.66. One rider after that was Oregon's Ferguson, who scored 94.33 to put himself into second behind James, at least briefly.

Hirano followed Ferguson and scored 96.66 on his second run to retake the lead, one he would not relinquish. James scored 19.66 on his second run.

The podium was set entering the final three riders and the positions didn't change, but there still was plenty of drama. Ferguson scored 95 on his final run before Hirano topped himself with a 99 — Shaun White is the only man to score a 100 in competition, doing so as recently as the Snowmass Grand Prix earlier this month — and James finished the contest with 98 and a somewhat frustrating silver medal.

James also took second at the Snowmass Grand Prix behind White, who had been in Aspen training ahead of X Games but decided to pull out of the contest to rest for the Olympics.

"Frustrating, for sure. You stand up top and you see a 99 and there is nothing I can really do about it other than do what I can do and ride the best that I can," James said. "The really cool thing about this event is I can see what everyone else is doing and what everyone will do in the future leading into the Olympics. Ayumu has just done his run that you'll see in Pyeongchang, and I got some more to answer back so I'm excited to bring it to the table."

Josey finished fourth, X Games rookie Toby Miller fifth, Japan's Raibu Katayama sixth, Gabe Ferguson seventh, Pates eighth, Greg Bretz ninth and Podladtchikov 10th.

White, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, Ben Ferguson, Josey and Pates will represent the U.S. at the Winter Olympics next month. The men's halfpipe qualifying is scheduled for Feb. 13 at Phoenix Snow Park, with the finals scheduled for the next day.

"In two weeks time I really hope everyone is there and it really is going to be a showdown," James said. "Ayumu is an amazing rider, as well as everyone else. I feel really good. I got some stuff I can still bring to the table."